"I Hate Dancing"—And We Love This Video

"I hate dancing more than I can possibly explain," declares the unmistakable voice of British actor and comedian Stephen Fry. It's not the most reassuring statement to hear at the beginning of a dance video. Yet Jo Roy, a Los Angeles-based dancer-choreographer-director, has taken Fry's rant (from what Fry calls a "podgram," better known as a podcast, that he initially published in 2008) and used it as the soundtrack for a two-minute dance film. And it's fantastic.

In "I Hate Dancing," Roy translates the rhythms and inflections of Fry's speaking patterns through her body with such clarity and eloquence that she may as well be producing the speech through her movement. In the gif above, she hits every syllable of the monologue's opening statement. Below, she dances a line declaring formal choreography embarrassing.

The video was published early this summer through NOWNESS—yes, the people who gave us this David Hallberg video, this portrait of Royal Ballet principal Lauren Cuthbertson and this fashion bit featuring Janie Taylor dancing choreography by Justin Peck. Where "I Hate Dancing" departs from these earlier examples is in the tension between form and content—the inherent irony of using dance to illustrate a condemnation of dancing. Since gifs don't really do it justice, check out the full video below.

We can't help but think that the famously tongue-in-cheek Fry might just approve.

 

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020